“He’s hurt. Agnes, tell me. How badly?” Mary pleaded, but the maid was obdurate. She set her bulk between Mary and the stairs, and it was only when Alfie barrelled through the front door into the downstairs hall that she was distracted by the commotion.
Mary took instant advantage and slid onto the staircase. She needed to hold the curving rail because, despite the huge bowl of porridge, she was weak from lack of food. it must be a long time since I ate well, she thought. One by one the stairs led her down into the hall where her eldest, Alfie, stood against Malcolm’s rigid figure in shock.
Mary crossed to him and laid a trembling hand on his head before turning to Lennox and Lady Grizel. When her mama-in-law stood up, she turned to Mary with huge accusing eyes.
“I asked you to stay upstairs, Mary,” she said in urgent tones. “This is not a sight for one so recently recovered from serious illness.”
Mary nodded in the automatic way she knew she used when dealing with her mama-in-law and side-stepped around her.
Lennox lay stretched on the turkey rug. His head was to one side and a huge gash ran down his cheek. Duff limped into the hall and Alfie roused. Mary watched him bounding to the dog and throwing his arms around its neck.
“Mama, he’s hurt. Duff is hurt.” Alfie shook his head in an effort to stay the tears she saw were threatening. Then his eyes widened and he let out a squeal, “Papa!
It caused everyone in the hall to turn as one towards Lennox.